I’m not dying, imminently. Excepting if our house blows up tonight because there is a gas leak and bang! The explosion kills us both, instantly. Or a sneaky clot is making its slow way to my heart or brain, to fast-track me to oblivion. God knows.
Death was imminent a couple of weeks back. Oh, at first my doctor made soothing noises when I moaned about my chronic neck pain. He’d write me a prescription for anti-inflammatory cream. Also, I said, I can’t raise my left arm above my head and there’s a lump on my clavicle.
I know it’s called a clavicle as well as a collar bone because I like fortune cookie sized bits of knowledge from the google machine.
‘Oh,’ he said. He looked suspiciously at the lump, ‘Just to be sure,’ he said.
And innocently, ‘When did we last do a blood screen?’
To rule out cancer, of course, including bone cancer. Also a special urine test to rule out lymph node cancer. Also an x-ray. I specialize in hypochondria but here was an honest to God symptom to worry about. I was surely dying. Ian demurred. He said I was worrying needlessly because look how much energy I had and I didn’t look sick.
I was in a celebratory mood a week later. Negative findings from the tests! I was so happy to be not dying that I purchased shoes. The following day blood leaked from my post menopausal vagina.
I’ve heard of political prisoners subjected to a method of torture called ‘mock execution’. It’s where they take you out to the firing squad or the gallows, but it’s a joke and they bring you back to your cell again. You go through the emotions attendant upon imminent death but you don’t die. And then, later, when they come for you again you think. ‘Oh another gag!’ but this time they really take you out.
My doctor was on holiday but the triage nurse said I should come in right away anyway. The triage nurse is the one who decides who can wait until tomorrow or next week to be seen and who needs to be seen immediately, that is, who is close to death. The duty doctor ID’d a ‘lesion’ on my cervix. ‘Lesion’ is a death heralding type of word.
How long did I have? Why did I buy those shoes? More stuff to sort through and dispose off before I jetted off to the netherworld. Ian said I was not dying. He said I was too pretty to die.
I’m not afraid to die. It’s just that I’m not quite ready to check out. I still enjoy singing, dancing, eating, etc. And I do want to see how the Trump presidency plays out. Also I’d like to sell the flat, pay my debts, and tidy up filing cabinet drawers and my closets. I think this might have been the ‘bargaining phase’ of dealing with imminent death.
I was placed front of the gynaecology queue. No. It’s not cancer the consultant said, it’s a polyp and she’d wheech it out right away. Not exactly painlessly. Did I want to see it? The size of a small grape it was, and glistening pink in the jaws of the forceps, and since she was in there just a little sample of my endometrial tissue. Ouch! Holy! I was expecting the little sharp twinge of a pap smear not specimen by melon scoop.
I’m not dying. I’ve bought some really pretty harem pants, and a Chinese boudoir robe with embroidery to replace the one I’ve had for 40 years, because it was soiled at the cuff edges and disintegrating with age.